Alrighty, I bet this has been spun several hundred times. But I haven't heard a a propsal quite like mine:
I've been planning this trip to Europe for at least a year. Being the haughty American I am I believed that a visa wouldn't be necessary and my passport would suffice. That, or I could leave any EU country after 90 days and come back with a renewed stamp or whatever.
Obviously I found these to be false so I'm left with no plan for a trip to Europe, no college admission, no job, etc etc because I was planning on leaving here in a few months.
But, since I still have some time to turn this around, I'm wondering if it would be possible to get long term visas in 2 countries that I want to visit.
In further detail: I know that for me I automatically have 90 days in a 180 day period to visit anything I can see in the Schengen area with my US passport (which, for any person with wanderlust like me, is not enough time). I planned on flying into Norway in April and working there for 3-4 months, then cycling south through Sweden and Denmark for the rest of the year, volunteering through HelpX and WorkAway to conserve funds. In 2013 I want to continue from Denmark and visit a friend in Germany, and farm for a season in France. Could I apply for 2 long-stay visas (one for Norway, my first long-stay destination and another for France, my next long-stay destination) so that when I first fly to Europe, I can present a long-stay Visa for Norway and then when I get to France present the long-stay Visa at the border? I've heard that, with any long-stay visa travel within the Schengen area is allowed, so I will be covered from Norway through Germany if I have at least a year on my visa. I've also heard that you can obtain a long-stay Visa in France one year before even arriving so that would work out well because I could get it this month or next and it would still be valid once I arrived.
Any flaws? There are bound to be some. I just really want this to work somehow...
This Schengen thing intrigues me because as far as I can tell its a load of bullshit.
I have never, ever, been asked how long I intend to stay in the Schengen. I don't even understand how they can possibly monitor it without going through your passport and doing some serious math. With the EU its impossible to even monitor where you are yet alone how lone you've been there.
It is also not particularly specific as to whether it is continuous, or whether its a day here a day there. And no body seems to have the answer.
This has been a point of concern for me once or twice, in fact the first time it was brought up by someone and i had never heard of it, by that point i'd been travelling for months.
From what I can gather from asking around then is that while it is a legit thing, I don't think Americans, Australians, Canadians etc are of any concern to the concept. It would be uncommon for them to chase you up on it when they can have fun chasing South Africans, the universal favorite of immigration.
I have never heard of anyone being pulled up on it. I am Australian and most Australians go to Europe for 90 days as a minimum. We often stay a lot longer.
Also is Scandinavia part of the Schengen now as well? If so then its just not a feasible concept if the whole continent is part of it. Its one of those things I could never find the answers i needed at the time so forgot about it but it annoys me because its such a terrible concept with no concrete rules and no body seems to know anything about it so really it just stops responsible people going on great tips.
If you intend to work officially you need visas anyway. If you want to travel. I wouldn't let it deter you from your plans at all.
Sorry, Chris, I don't have enough knowledge to respond to your original question. However, with regard to the above reply:
I have never heard of anyone being pulled up on it.
There's been several posts on this forum about people getting in trouble for overstaying when flying out. One guy was even banned for 5 years, although he managed to successfully appeal that (after a lot of effort).
Also is Scandinavia part of the Schengen now as well? If so then its just not a feasible concept if the whole continent is part of it. Its one of those things I could never find the answers i needed at the time so forgot about it but it annoys me because its such a terrible concept with no concrete rules and no body seems to know anything about it
It's really very easy: The Schengen Zone consists of most continental European countries (see that page for a complete list). Between countries in this zone, there's no border controls; at its edges (and of course at airports for flights to destinations outside of the Schengen Zone), there are border controls, and that's where they'll register when you're entering and leaving. Within any imaginable continuous 180-day period, you're allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days. That could be 90 days in, 90 days out, or that could be 1 day in, 1 day out, 1 day in, 1 day out, etc. The UK/Ireland, Croatia and Turkey are the most popular countries to visit in order to get the number of days outside the Schengen Zone which you need.
Also see our Schengen Visa guide page.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2012, at 10:00 by Sander ]
To the OP: Please forget any of the advice poster #2 gave you, except for saying if you want to work legally you need a work visa. #2 mixes up the continent of Europe with the political entity of the EU and this with the political entity of the Schengen area. They overlap, but are not the same and there are different visa rules.
Also let me assure you,just as #3 says and contrary to #2's advice, Americans, Canadians and Australians are not above the law in Europe. It is true, the main focus of the immigration officials is on other nationalities, but if are caught overstaying it won't help you if you say you read that Americans get away with it.
A Schengen visa is for all countries in the Schengen area, if you are from a country whose citizens can travel on a visa waiver, you get 90 days out of 180 free without a visa.
If you want to have a long term visa, you have to apply for it at the embassy/consulate of the country, for example France. Long term visa are only given by the individual country, not by the whole of Schengen.
A work permit will be hard to get, as you need to get a job offer first and then your potential employer will have to start the process. The main difficulty is to prove that nobody from the whole EU can do this particular job.
A student visa may be possible. Long term visa have to be arranged from your home country. The only exception of this which I am aware of is for some nationalities in Germany. US citizens can arrive as a tourist, can stay for up to 90 days and can apply for a long term visa within these 90 days in Germany.
Maybe you haven't heard, but Norway is the world's most expensive country! I haven't been to Scandinavia recently, but can just say that border formalities there were a total breeze for this American. The only place, so far, that challenged me was the UK. Now that all of Europe has their share of Asian and African immigrants, the casual jobs are few and far between. Dream on...
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2012, at 07:17 by Daawgon ]
Sorry if you thought I gave bad advice, I was really just expressing my concern that it is a very hard concept to grasp and no one seems to know anything concrete about it.
It is also hard that some countries are obviously strict and others are not.
It also appears that perhaps the regulations may have strengthened in the year since I did it last because no one ever asked me and I was coming and going all over the place.
It's such a shame they have done this, it's not great for tourism as far as I'm concerned, considering you can generally go to single countries for the same amount of time as they are letting us go to the whole continent.